Bye! Boomer donors are now in decline

We knew it had to happen, but it’s shocking nevertheless:

Boomers have hit their peak. It’s all downhill from now.

In 2019, the youngest Boomers entered their prime donor years — they turned 55.

In 2019, the 55-to-85 population of the US was made up of 79% Boomers (born 1946-1964) and 21% Silent Generation (born 1925-1945). Starting in 2020, Boomers are being replaced in the donor demographic by Generation Xers (born 1965-1979).

(I’m using US Census figures here; the proportions are similar across the Western countries. And I’m defining “donors” as people between age 55 and 85. There are, of course, many donors younger — and older — than that, but the large majority are in that range.)

Starting this year, there will be no new Boomers entering the most-likely-to-donate stage of life. Now, they can only leave that stage … the hard way.

But they aren’t exactly fading away quickly: Boomers will continue to be the majority of donors until 2033, when Gen Xers start to outnumber them. Millennials will start to join the party in 2035.

In 2040 we’ll have an interesting generational mix:

  • 26% Boomers
  • 50% Gen X
  • 24% Millennials

What Boomers have taught fundraisers (those who are paying attention, anyway) is that we must make our fundraising about them. Not us. And we discovered that when you do that, fundraising works a lot better. Even with donors older than Boomers. It will no doubt also work for the upcoming generations of donors. In fact, they will likely be even more demanding than the Boomers.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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